Score Music – War College
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This Gig will seek to provide a heavy atmospheric or ambient musical track which helps to conjure images of a medieval fantasy War College. An academy for warriors where knights and professional soldiers learn the art of battle, undergoing as rigorous and dangerous training as any equivalent in the real modern world. Wrestling, horsemanship, swordsmanship, pain tolerance, drilling, and even lethal sparing in heavy platemail armor are just samples of the courses such a place offers.
The piece should carry a heavy military feel but watch out for falling into a cliché snare drum line. Tracks should be rich with nuance, conveying a sense of strength, courage, endurance, and a healthy dose of brutality; remember, these people are learning the best technique to kill another person up close and personal. Undertones of inspiration, savagery, perseverance, and awe are all potential angles to follow here.
The track must be no less than 3:00 in length, longer tracks are welcome.
You can choose any specific setting for your piece you wish but it’s critical that you have a type of war college in mind before you set off on the track. Not only will your specific scene help you craft a rich undertone tapestry but it will also help you when sprinkling in some sound design elements outlined below (if you wish to include them).
Even though the classic Western European ideal of a knight’s or Roman legionary war college for inspiration is the most iconic, there are paths for you to explore. Professional soldiers of the Classic and Medieval era learned lethal skills in every corner of the world, from Samurai training in dojos to Mongol Horse Archers training in sprawling pastures.
To go even further, fantasy gaming is resplendent with races and monsters with long, proud, disciplined military traditions: dwarves, elves, hobgoblins, and many others. In addition, the world of fantasy has a variety of war colleges catering to different styles of war, paladins learning how to imbue their strikes with righteous power, mages adding magic to their deadly sword swings, dragon riders practicing aerial maneuvers with others in skybound jousts, your imagination is the limit here.
So, for those wishing to stick with the classic rendition, go with the Western European vision. For those feeling adventurous and wishing to stand out in the coming album, you have culture, races, and types to choose from.
2. Sound Design (OPTIONAL):
To be clear, we DO NOT want a full soundscape with this piece but the artist can, if they so choose, to select some sound effects or subtle, occasional soundscapes to help provide some anchors to the scene you are laying out. For example, including the clang of swords of a distant sparing match, archers practicing on targets, or a joust are just some examples of occasional SFX to include. We don’t want too much sound design since the music should take center stage.
3. Instrumentation / Orchestration
Talent has a wide open field to play with, however, avoid sharp peaks and valleys, sudden tone shifts, sharp changes in energy and the like. Your track should be quite CONSISTENT in its delivery of the target tones, undertones, and energy. Those using an undertone of adventure and action should carefully interweave the more consistent calm construction with seamless and organic burst of energy. Including vocals maybe a challenge but male, or even female vocals, can be a unique and powerful inclusion in your instrumentation. Again, watch overuse of the snare drum all too common in military-like tunes as such compositions paint too vivid a picture of a modern military and we’re squarely in medieval fantasy.
The following tracks have been identified as providing a good basis for inspiration into the feel, energy, and direction this track requires. Please note that there will be no tolerance for stolen work, so make sure that submitted auditions are original compositions and that you have 100% rights to use and sell any samples or loops you embed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any that features stronger fantasy soundscapes or more interesting troupes as mentioned above but that does not mean we’re not extremely interested in hearing those!
The Gladiator OST – The Battle – Hans Zimmer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unb3FdsT5fQ (0:00 to 0:55)
Unsurprisingly, the combination of brass and drums sets the stage for a wonderful militaristic tone along with undertones that provide the feeling of a grand and noble ware college. The energy is a bit docile, giving the feeling of relative calm, perhaps an indication of entering the war college early in the day or late at night. In terms of our use, this track goes off the rails at around the 1 minute mark so only use the intro for inspiration.
Terminator Genisys – #1 Fate and Hope - Lorne Balfe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7wQza6qitc (1:30 to 3:17)
This mix of driving percussions and heavy inspirational undertone makes for a wonderful candidate to something like a Paladin or Holy Order War College. Playing up additional religious elements and even sprinkling in some associated sound design could help create a vision of a grand proud order of ordained warriors training to fight against the agents of evil. As the time markers above suggests, cut straight to 1:30 and ignore anything after in terms of getting inspiration for this Gig.
Battlestar Galatica – The Thousandth Landing – Bear McCreary
Solid foundation for a unique take on a war college, likely one following influential elements from a specific real world culture. For the purposes of this Gig, the track feels a bit empty, straying enough from the norms of the iconic war college which is OK but then it needs some sort of anchor in sound design or additional orchestration to clearly, without any question, portray an institution dedicated to learning the art of war. Lastly, the pace is a bit too quick, implying too much action to be used as a backdrop track so be careful.
The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe – The Battle - Global Stage Orchestra (0:00 to 1:15)
Within the first 1:15, we have a rich canvas for a glory laden war academy. Grand in every way, the listener can imagine towering towers of a sprawling fortress where legendary heroes come to learn hand to hand combat. What I particularly like here is the range of instrumentation, allowing for any kind of background or story for this war college. From the training of a female only royal guard to a school for arch mages to learn the most lethal of army shattering spell, the beginning of this piece has so much potential.
We’re going to say it again, have a story/angle for your war college. The most successful composers in our experience are those that craft a vivid scene for the listener, paying attention to every detail which often becomes an important element when choosing pieces for gaming. The most important piece of advice we can give is to have fun creating your own academy for either your heroes or villains! If you have questions, ask.
If you have any questions, please shoot us over a message through Audio Catch, we’ll try to answer all of it, don’t be shy. We can’t wait to hear how you bring this scene to life! Good luck!!!